Song of the Day: Dean Wareham – The Dancer Disappears

photo by Charina Pitzel

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “The Dancer Disappears” by Dean Wareham from his 2014 self-titled album self-released on Double Feature.

Dean Wareham – The Dancer Disappears (MP3)

Quick history lesson: Dean Wareham was in one of the best bands of the late 80’s/early 90’s, whose spacey, shoegazing psych rock impacted a generation to follow. Galaxie 500 was highly praised by critics but under-appreciated by listeners, and, alas, short-lived. When the Boston band split after only five years, guitarist and vocalist Dean Wareham went on to form Luna to somewhat greater success, and then, after they split, to form Dean & Britta, with ex-Luna bassist Britta Phillips. If you’ve been listening to KEXP over the years, you’ve heard all of his projects, as we’ve always been big fans.

Fortunately, not much has changed with Wareham’s self-titled project. His wife, Britta Phillips, is still in the band. His distinctive deadpan voice remains true. And the songs are breezily atmospheric, this time thanks to production by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. If anything, Wareham is more wistful and nostalgic in his maturity, as on the album opener and today’s featured song, “The Dancer Disappears”, whose gorgeous melody highlights the romantic escapism of the lyrics: “I was the arrow, I was the bow / I love to give but I’m ready to go / Now that we’re here, I’m ready to leave / the whole wide world behind”. It’s a journey you’ll definitely want to take with him, on this song and the rest of the album.

Unless you were among those lucky enough to be in attendance for the early show Dean Wareham played in town just over a month ago, you’ll have to wait for him to come back around. (But now that it’s Britta’s turn for a “solo” album, that shouldn’t be too long from now.) For now, keep up with Dean Wareham on his website and Facebook page, and watch his performance of today’s featured song live in the KEXP studio:

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